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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Replacing Memories

The title makes it sound bad, but it's not meant to be. Not every memory I have with Justin is bad; certainly not. And I'm not going out of my way to completely erase my life with my ex-husband. However, I am using to my advantage, the fact that Patrick has only lived in WA for roughly 6 years and hasn't seen all that WA has to offer. There is a lot of natural beauty here that is just begging to be reveled in.

Case in point: Hurricane Ridge and Neah Bay. Yes, I've been to both of these places with Justin in the past, but that doesn't mean that I can't savor them again with someone new.

[Can I just quickly point out that I absolutely love the fact that he is so enthralled by nature? I think Patrick is so much more expressive of his feelings, and I get so much enjoyment from his enjoyment]

Because we both had Sunday and Monday off, I wanted to plan something that would take an overnight stay to accomplish. Because Neah Bay is about 4.5 hours away and I wanted to catch the sunset, it would be nearly impossible to do it all in one day, so I set up a hotel in Port Angeles for Sunday night.

We left for Port Angeles by 8am on Sunday, and planned to drive directly up to Hurricane Ridge and hike the Hurricane Hill trail. This would be our first official hike together and would hopefully gauge our current skill levels and how out of shape we were. (I don't hike in winter, so I have to re-up and start from scratch basically every year). I remembered the hike being fairly easy up until the last little bit, where the 700 ft elevation gain is probably done all at once.

Unfortunately, we didn't even get to the trail head. It being Memorial Day weekend, everybody and their mother had it in their minds to hike at the Ridge. In fact, we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes just to get past the gate for the drive up. There was no parking close to the Hill, and then they also had part of the road blocked off because they were doing maintenance on the trail off and on over the next couple of months. So, we walked the road until about 2 miles in and realized that not only were we already too tired for all this (the trail itself was to be 1.6 miles each way) but we wouldn't have enough time to get through any of it once we reached the trail head. So, we turned around and headed back to the car. We still got some awesome views, however. So it wasn't a complete waste.

An interesting side note: on our way to Port Angeles, on Highway 3 before Gorst, we encountered a massive convoy of incredibly cool custom Chevy Camaros. There had to have been at least 15 of them passing us by. And after we had turned around from our hike, we noticed the parking lot was full of Chevy Camaros. The same Chevys that had passed us on the highway hours before. Crazy!

We got to the hotel just in time to check in (which was the plan) at 3pm, and then headed directly out to Neah Bay (still a 1.5 hour drive away). We were going to eat dinner there and then head out to the trail head.

Oddly enough, we were doing almost exactly what Justin and I had done in 2013, except this time we were going to skip The Warmhouse completely. There weren't very many food options at Neah Bay so I figured Linda's Pizza was still best. So, after we picked up our recreational permit (which I had completely forgotten that we needed) at the general store, we ordered a pizza-to-go at Linda's and headed down the road to the Cape Flattery trail head. This time, instead of having a camcorder, I had a nice Sony A7R mirrorless camera and a decent 24-120mm lens to get some good photos.

As per my anxiety trends, we were way too early for sunset. By like, 2 hours. I took all the photos I could possibly think of, and we hung out and enjoyed the scenery until about 8pm where I secured a spot for my time lapse.

I didn't do it long enough. Oh well. Still beautiful shots.

After sunset, we walked back in the dark and made our way back to the hotel in Port Angeles where we promptly found out that the card key didn't work. It worked originally. But now it was almost 12am and the phone number wasn't connecting to anyone. The office was closed; but luckily a knock on the glass woke somebody up and they had to re-do our card key. Thank goodness too, because we had no other options. We had stuff in the room, otherwise Patrick said he'd just drive home (it was another 2 hours). But I doubt I would have gotten a refund because how could we prove that we hadn't been there all night?

We woke up at 6am the next day so that we could be out of there by 7. I had one stop to make on the way home and I had scheduled my plasma appointment at 11:30 so I wanted to be back with enough time to spare to take a shower before leaving. Also, Patrick had to clean up his old apartment because he was <NOT MOVING IN WITH ME> moving into another apartment with his step-son Jordan. *cough*

The stop was at Red Apple Market in Bremerton, where I heard they sold Viking Skyr Ice Cream (I call it Sker, but I think it is pronounced Skeer) by the pint. Yes, that's right - the same Skyr that is sold at the Blackberry Festival that I go to every September. At $4.99 a pop it wasn't cheap, but considering that I can only normally get it once a year I was pretty damn happy to find a place that could sell it to me year round.

So all in all, not a bad trip. The sunset photos turned out great thanks to the addition of some clouds for the light to bounce off of this time. I got to spend AN ENTIRE DAY with my boyfriend, which like, never happens, so totally worth all of it. Plus, this was our first overnight trip together. So perfect.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

30-Day Blogging Challenge: Your Definition of Love

This is a hard one to quantify. I was asked this question just recently and gave a very kind of stoic and logical response. It's not a question that I can just up and answer without thinking on it some, first.
The reason I'm writing this now is because of something that I felt last night that I think helped me define what love truly is.

I think love is complete and utter acceptance of a person and who they are. It's knowing their flaws and not being bothered by them. It's somehow caring even more than you ever thought you could when they can't possibly understand why you would.
Love is honesty because it's acceptance. It's not being afraid to tell your partner anything and everything because there will be no judgement. 
For me personally, it's a feeling of empathy that is completely new. I'm not normally very empathetic, but I feel such a connection that it borders on scary. It's more than just caring, compassion and sympathy. It's knowing when they are in emotional pain and hurting when they do. It's not just seeing the signs, it's feeling it. Even in complete darkness.

Love is what remains after the dust settles. After that "honeymoon period" is over. It's a glue that allows a relationship to continue to flourish well into your wonder years.

Love isn't trying to fill a void, it's adding to what is already there. Sometimes you feel so full that you might burst.

Love is being out of your comfort zone. Wanting to be out of it. Maybe even excited to be.

Love is an evolution. It's not forcing you to change for the other person. It's not even wanting to change for them. It's a gradual process that you don't even realize is happening until it's almost over. You've suddenly realized that you've become a better version of yourself. Maybe the person you have always meant to be.

This is my definition of love.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

30-Day Blogging Challenge: Weird things you do when you're alone

Only when I'm alone, huh? I figured I was just weird in general. In fact, I can't even supply that the "weird thing I do alone" is even when I'm only alone. I know Patrick has heard me talk to myself. And yes - I will even answer myself! Does that make me crazy? I don't know - maybe my boyfriend should be worried!

Honestly though, I'm pretty laid back when I'm alone; I don't do a bunch of insane stuff. Writing, reading, watching LTT videos. All pretty standard. Sometimes I get wacky ideas. Just yesterday I decided that Patrick's hairbrush could no longer live on the bathroom counter so I drilled a hole in the plastic bottom and screwed a hook into it so that I could hang it under a shelf. The plastic was so soft that it got stuck in the teeth of my drill bit so I had to melt/burn it off using my lighter.

You know, regular stuff.

Back when Justin and I were living together, I had decided, for some oddball reason, that I wanted the living room in the bedroom and the bedroom in the living room. I legit used the domino method* to move all my furniture - yes all myself, even the bed - and by the time Justin got off of work and saw our queen bed in the living room he was like "um."
It was working out just fine until the downstairs neighbors complained that they couldn't sleep because Justin and his friends would play Rockband at 3am and the bedrooms were directly over each other.

[Domino method/effect: when one thinks in terms of how one action affects another which affects another, etc.]

I can sometimes be fairly determined in my quest to realize my ideas. Nothing will hold me back. I AM WOMAN. HEAR ME ROAR.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Birthday Continues

So even though I technically celebrated my birthday last week, I didn't have dinner with my parents until this week. I had been excited about this particular Sunday for a while; even though Patrick had already met my parents when we all went to the Spring Fair together, this would be the first time I get to show him the home where I spent most of my childhood.

However, before that, I had taken Patrick on the 5-mile Drive at Point Defiance Park, and he had showed interest in walking down at Owen's beach. So when I checked the tide table, I saw that it was going to be a -0.89 tide at 12:15 on Sunday, which would be perfect in order to get all the way up to the actual point of Point Defiance, which was only accessible at low tides. It was a super nice day, so it was perfect for a walk on the beach. We had a great time; it's gorgeous down there and we were both fascinated by the shear rock wall to one side and walking on hardened clay. Plus, we got to see the Narrows Bridges' from the right side, which is hard to do!

After our walk, I drove us to my parent's house. I had warned him that I wanted to show him the creek; the place I went to when I had an argument with my parents and needed a quiet space. So after showing him the house, we braved the nettles and Devil's Club to find my creek. Unfortunately, it looked like it had completely dried up. And on our way back up, I had promptly gotten us lost temporarily misplaced. We ended up on the opposite side of my parent's property, so I wasn't completely off course (Stop judging me). I forge my own path, okay?
So, we were perfectly sweaty and nasty from our hike as we ate our dinner: ribeye steaks, asparagus and a baked potato. I used Alton Brown's "new" technique of using mayonnaise as a searing agent instead of oil. It sounds weird (and I knew my parents would give me funny looks. I love that) but it works perfectly!

Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I think my parents like him. He had absolutely no qualms with not only teasing the heck out of me and doing daring things like hiding my phone a couple of times, but also by showing loving affection. No shame, this one.

After dessert (who doesn't love a combo of oreo cake and peanut butter chocolate ice cream?!) we had to go because I desperately needed to take a shower. It had been quite a day, and I was seriously impressed with this man's stamina considering his age [cough cough] lol plus he was running on very little sleep, poor thing.

You know, I have a feeling I'm going to be making a lot more journaling entries with all of our escapades. I don't want to forget a single moment. And I'm hoping for many, many more moments to come.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Birthday 35

This weekend was definitely something special. For a while now, birthdays have been more about my experiences and who I'm spending time with as opposed to gifts. Although I did ask Patrick to help start a new tradition by buying me a birthday card and writing something personal in it; and I will keep them all in a special place as the years go by.

Saturday was fairly chill, especially since Patrick had to go to work that night. After he got up around 12 (from working Friday night), we headed over to my friend Dave's house to borrow his Sigma Art f/1.4 20mm lens because we were planning on going Milky Way shooting on Sunday night. I have to use a Nikon adapter in order to use it, and I honestly think that if I had a native Sony E-Mount version that the pictures might turn out better. It's still an awesome lens though.

We then had a 4:15 reservation at Duke's Chowder House (for which I get a Birthday coupon for every year) that is one of my favorite places to eat. The sweet potato fries are to die for. I usually gravitate towards the salmon and Patrick got the burger.

Patrick did have to go to work that night so we didn't have much time for anything else. Sunday was going to be packed with stuff, though. At 9:30am Sunday morning, we had tickets for Avengers: Endgame. It was opening weekend. Poor Patrick was running on about 3 hours of sleep but he managed to stay awake during the movie. We then only had a couple of hours to kill before I picked up Mary so that she could meet Patrick; and we played Scene It: Star Trek, which Mary and I always played together and I would win of course, but now I had some competition. Yeah, Patrick is a trekkie (of course he is! Would I be dating him otherwise??) ;) I pretty much knew I would get second place, and I did! It's just no fun when you don't win! lol We went to Bevmo and picked up some alcohol. Patrick likes Whisky Sours because he's some kind of weirdo lol I picked up Kinky Liqueur because I like my alcohol not to taste like alcohol. We couldn't hang out too long, though. I had to drop Mary off back home before 6pm because Game of Thrones was dropping on HBO then, and Matty couldn't wait to watch it.
Patrick is starting from the last season here, and I'd only "caught him up" by having him watch a 30 minute youtube recap of all the prior seasons. He's doing very well keeping track of everything considering how complicated the series is as a whole. He seems to be enjoying it at least.

So after GOT was over we both had to take a nap in order to leave at 1:30am to head out to Elbe for some Milky Way shooting. I was definitely going to take advantage of the fact that his days off are Sunday/Monday and I took Monday off. I was lucky that it was going to be a mostly clear night!
He was very excited because he'd never seen the Milky Way with the naked eye before. I was excited to show him my "secret" spot that I go to to practice my shots. But I think I was more excited because he was excited. It almost seems too good to be true that he enjoys coming out with me to stare at the night sky for a couple of hours while I take photos.

We had a really good night, and didn't even get home until almost 6:30am. After we woke up midday on Monday we took advantage of the nice weather and walked some on the Scott Pierson trail by my apartment, and watched The Greatest Showman - one of my favorite movies. He likes musicals, ya'll! Can you believe it?

This man is definitely a keeper.

That was pretty much it for my birthday weekend!